Traditional Trinidad corn soup recipe

21.2.17 | Recipe by Renz

This warm and flavorful Trinidadian Corn soup is just perfect. It's the top Caribbean soup that can be enjoyed for all seasons. A heavily layered flavorful base with fresh corn kernels, succulent dumplings, vegetables, and a kick of spice. This is a soup I know your entire family would love.

A large pot of corn soup with a bowl fulll of soup on a white background.

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Corn soup is a popular street food in Trinidad and Tobago. It's especially popular after fetes (parties) and carnival time.

But this can also be the Caribbean corn soup, not just a Trinidadian dish because this meal has crossed borders and can be found on most Caribbean islands.

Trini corn soup is ram-packed with split peas, corn, dumplings, and provisions. The flavors are thick and heavy... and delicious. It's a complete meal.

It's the perfect "pick up" after a night of feteing, drinking, and dancing the night (or day) away.

Another favorite for me is boiled corn. Yum!


Why you would like corn soup?

Trinidad corn soup is beloved for its rich flavors, hearty ingredients, and cultural significance. Here are a few reasons why people enjoy it:

Flavorful ingredients: Trinidad corn soup typically includes a variety of ingredients such as corn, split peas, pumpkin, carrots, potatoes, and various herbs and spices like thyme, garlic, and hot pepper. This combination creates a flavorful and aromatic broth that's deeply satisfying.

Comfort food: Like many soups, Trinidad corn soup is often associated with comfort and warmth. Its hearty nature makes it perfect for cold or rainy days, and it's often enjoyed as a nourishing meal that brings a sense of comfort and satisfaction.

Cultural tradition: Corn soup is deeply rooted in Trinibagonian cuisine and culture. It's often enjoyed as a street food or at social gatherings such as parties, festivals, and family gatherings. For many, it's not just about the taste but also about the memories and traditions associated with the dish.

Versatility: This soup can be customized to suit individual tastes and preferences. Some variations include adding different meats such as chicken, beef, or pigtail, while others may add dumplings or provisions like yams and cassava. This versatility allows people to adapt the soup to their liking, making it even more appealing.

Nutritious: With its mix of vegetables, legumes, and sometimes meat, corn soup is a nutritious meal option. It provides a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals, making it a wholesome choice for a meal.

Trini corn soup is cherished for its delicious taste, cultural significance, and comforting qualities, making it a beloved dish among those who have had the pleasure of experiencing it.

Corn soup ingredient notes:

Making this family favorite is always an exciting time. Everybody is always looking forward to a big warm bowl of flavor. And this corn soup recipe gives all of that.

  • Corn - I prefer using fresh sweet corn. It's at its peak and tender and sweet. Frozen corn can also be used but I like to use frozen ones that are whole rather than the nibs.
  • Bell peppers - I make sure there are a lot of colors in my soup. So try to use both green and red peppers.
  • Yellow split peas - this is what gives this flavorful soup its body. The amount used will make a difference in the color of the soup base.
  • Peppers: both hot and seasoning peppers are needed. Add in some Scotch bonnet pepper and pimento peppers to the mix.
  • Salt & black pepper
  • Ground provisions: This is not a definite list. You can easily use what is on hand. Corn soup is not heavy on the provisions but more on the corn. Examples of the types I like to use are Tania (sweet potatoes), and pumpkin.
  • Fresh herbs: fresh thyme, chadon beni

Check out the recipe card for the full list of ingredients and the quantities.

Equipment needed

Heavy stock pot
Immersion blender (optional)

How to make corn soup

Now like most recipes for soups especially, there are no HARD rules for making this. There are many variations on what can be used to make the base, but it MUST have pieces of corn.

And for me, it also MUST have dumplings. It can be regular dumplings, whole wheat dumplings, cassava dumplings, or even cornmeal dumplings.

I can do with just those two things alone as the main stars but feel free to find plantains, sweet potato, Idaho potatoes, cassava, or even pigtail or salt beef in your soup.

This soup requires a little TLC but it's not hard to make.

The main part of this soup is the base. It's this well-flavored base that makes everything taste great.

Soup preparation:

Put the split peas in cups of water to soak for at least an hour or overnight.

Let's remove some kernels off a few of the cobs. Pairing this with the split peas will help to add some body to the base. Just slice them off two of the ears of corn.

Corn cobs on a brown cutting board with a knife.

Cut the remaining cobs into disc sizes of your choice. They can be big or small but they should be as uniform in size as possible.

Mix your dumplings mixture up. Rub it with a little oil so it doesn't harden as it sits.

Now for the cooking process:

In your heavy-bottom soup pot, let's start building the base. Heat the pan with oil on medium-high heat, add in celery, onions, and cloves garlic. Saute for about five minutes, then add split peas and the corn we shaved off. Add thyme and let those get a little toasty. About 3 minutes.

Add some water and the chicken stock and leave to boil until the peas is soft to the touch. You may need to add more water to get the peas tender. If you soak your split peas before boiling it will take less time.

When the peas are tender (or "buss" as we say), use the back of the spoon to crush some. You can even use an immersion blender to blend it up finer.

Continue to build your base by adding coconut milk, hot pepper, more water, and just about everything else: corn pieces, carrots, bell peppers, and pumpkin.

If you have chive, you can add it here now also.

As the corn becomes tender, add your dumplings and leave them to boil.

Season up with salt and pepper to taste.

When dumplings are up to the top, your soup is ready.

Cooking notes:

  • Try to get your corn pieces to be as close to the same size as possible. This would allow them to be cooked at the same time.
  • Be mindful of how much additional provisions you add to the soup. Too much will make this thick. Make sure you have enough liquid included.
  • This recipe can easily be halved.
  • The dumplings for soups are not as big as the dumplings we make for eating with stews. These drop dumplings, also called spinners, should be about the same size so that they cook all the way through and at the same time.

A white bowl with finished corn soup with corn, carrots and dumplings.

Storage & reheating

This can be made ahead by a few hours and kept warm until ready to serve.

If you happen to have leftovers you can easily warm this up the next day. You can do it on the stovetop on medium heat and let it come to a simmer until it is warmed through.

You can freeze leftovers also. Place in an airtight freezer container. When ready to use, bring to room temperature then add to a pot on the stove.

Add water as needed since it sometimes gets thicker after freezing.

The best way to reheat this soup is in a pot on the stove. Add water to the pot on medium-high heat, and let it simmer till warmed all the way through.

Chunks of fresh corn in a split peas base with carrots and dumplings.

When you order this soup from street vendors (or at a party), they give it to you in a nice Styrofoam cup. Hot and piping from a big pot.

Just holding the warm cup of corn soup and the aroma excites you.

Honestly,  I think that the soup tastes most amazing when in the cup, haha.

Carrot, corn, dumplings sweet potato. Can you really go wrong here?

How can you not want this?

As an avid corn lover, give me corn. Big, big chunks of sweet corn.

Here are some other good soups:

Check out some other popular Carnival foods: